Cutting holes in 1.25" square steel tube

I’m cutting .5" holes in one face of 1.25" square tube. I’m making a jig to register the hole pattern across 6 6" pieces of tube at a time. Is there a reliable way—not a measuring tape–to know exactly where the x and y axis are in order to find them again and use the jig a week from now?

The holes are .75" from the top edge of the tube and directly in the center of the short edge.



When you’re on your mark, measure with a scale from the Y bearing plate to the Y rail mounting bracket. Record that distance. Do the same from the X bearing plate. You may need to scribe a reference mark somewhere on the Y truck.

Now you can ‘nudge’ into that position as many times you want.

I use Limit switches which are pretty repeatable, but I have Mach3 system so it was easy to add the limit switches to that…

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Oh, to have limit switches! ( Keith makes sad eyes at the Downs boys)

Can you cut the jig using a file that also has the holes you want to drill and then turn off the jig outline cut in Sheetcam or FirControl? This way you cut the jig outline the first time (with the holes turned off). If you can fashion a way to be able to put the jig back in the same position each time, you can run the same cut file again but on subsequent runs turn off the jig outline and just cut the holes. They should be exactly where you want them every time.

I have not done this, and dont know if it can be done, but I have done it on other machines. To re-locate the jig, you could weld some tabs onto it which fit up against the x and y sides of the water tray so it can be easily layed down and slid into the right registered position.

I guess this also assumes the cut file opens up in the same location on the machine every time, which I dont even know yet about my own machine! If it does, this technique should work (assuming cuts can be turned on and off in SheetCam and/or FireControl.)

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@Richarddbeck83 created this jig for the pro which mounts into the table and uses the crash extents of the x and y to create a datum.

Very similar to the indexing jig you described above.

I’m sure you could incorporate something like this on the crossfire.

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I’ve got a slightly easier way that doesn’t involve mounting a jig to the table and trying to begin from the exact x,y point every time. This is similar to what is being described but simpler to index. I used this method when cutting a design into an old saw blade.

Cut an L bracket with two holes in line with each other that the torch tip will fit in just a bit. Perhaps 1/2 inch.

Position the bracket where ever you need to on the table. Align the torch inside one hole and zero all. Run the torch up to the next hole and verify the bracket is square. Return the torch to X,y zero. Set origin to center.

In your design file for the holes to be cut in the tube, make the center of it the indexing hole. In post processing, make that hole cut last.

Run the file, stop the program before it gets to the last hole.

Ok that’s complicated. I could draw a picture.


You tell the Firecontrol where to place the file on the machine by zeroing the X/Y on the spot where you want the Origin point of the drawing to be. There is no “home” position on the Crossfire and Crossfire Pro machines. Generally, you design with the Origin at the lower left corner of an imaginary square around the drawing. You can change that Origin location in Firecontrol, by using the “set program origin” button.

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Crashing the machine each and every time you want to cut a new piece of stock sounds like it’s one hell of a way to wear out your machine, has anyone been able to successfully DIY a limit switch setup? Kinda tired of waiting on Langmuir to come up with something. I have a bunch of parts I need to cut and this is a serious bottle neck in the whole operation

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It definitely is not ideal. I myself do not do any indexing like that if possible. I try to keep my shapes so it’s cutting out the whole piece and not to the edge of a piece so you don’t have to worry about indexing.

In the future I do hope they come out with a upgrade kit for the pro.

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I have home switches on my 2x2, but it’s Mach3 USB board that has extra pins & config for that. Crossfire does not.

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They did Tin, it’s the crossfire XR… Hahaha


I hope to have one in my future. At 400 in per minute I think it would be great for cutting out some 26 gauge galvanized duct work. Which is the reason I would buy an XR.

Id imagine it be possible even on the firecontrol version. The motion control board has marking for what i believe is limit switches. Now weather or not its programed to use those inputs, who knows

Right, I am here cutting heavy duty sqaure tube to length 2.5 X 2.5 .220 wall, and then have to cut multiple .500" holes on either side of the tubing.

Currently using a band saw which can take 5 mins per cut and then manually punching, drilling and chamfering the holes. You can see where this whole process in inefficient.

Thanks, Max

I was without power for 5 days from storm, so I hope to get back to XR cutting. Just about got it all dialed in, so far, it’s a big improvement over my crossfire pro. You won’t be sorry with the XR.

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Upgrading to a new board should be easy enough, anything else needed?

Yea nah, I am not going to drop another $7000+ and have to wait weeks to months just to add 1 feature that would solve my problem with the Pro.

The Mach3 USB board is the OLD board and required Mach3, not Firecontrol. If you have THC then that would require yet another piece of electronics.

@Midnight_machinist I agree that it LOOKS like the LM pins would be limit switches, but without software they wouldn’t be any use. Odd that they have signals and no SW for that though…

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I see, they are as cheap as $10 on eBay LOLOL

Yea, I did pay extra for the THC setup already

Thanks, Max

My thinking is they planned for it ahead of time, then will probably offer an “upgrade kit”, kind of like the xl, that has new firmware and hardware. But this is all speculation of course.